Democratic hopefuls for U.S. Senate tied for now

LIHU‘E — The fight to represent the Democratic Party in the upcoming November elections for Hawai‘i’s second U.S. Senate seat is stuck on a technical tie, according to the latest poll results by a private company.

Ed Case is battling U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawai‘i for the U.S. Senate seat that Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawai‘i will vacate later this year.

Case is now sitting on a slight lead over Hirono — 46 percent over 45 percent, with 9 percent undecided — according to poll results released Tuesday by Public Strategy Group, a company based in Boston, Mass.

The margin of error in the poll that surveyed 668 likely Democratic primary voters is 3.8 percent, rendering Case’s lead a statistical tie.

“While Hirono runs stronger among the traditional Democratic base of voters, Case is viewed favorably and is very competitive in that segment, enjoys a substantial lead among self-described moderates and an even greater lead among independent voters,” reported PSG on Tuesday, adding that Case’s “maintenance of traditional base support and stronger appeal among moderate and independent voters offers a broader Democratic base in the general election.”

The winner in the Aug. 11 Democratic primaries will face Republican former Gov. Linda Lingle in the November elections.

This year’s race for U.S. Senate is a deja-vu of the 2002 Hawai‘i gubernatorial race, when Hirono bested Case in the primaries and lost to Lingle in the general elections.

• Léo Azambuja, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 252) or lazambuja@thegardenisland.com

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